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Published 16-Nov-2000
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webDotWiz Column for 16-Nov-2000


  Post an e-Card  

Christmas can come around with a rush and suddenly there isn't time to post cards to everybody. Sites such as e-Cards and e-Greetings have saved webDotWiz from embarassment the last couple of years.

webDotWiz uses e-Greetings but e-Cards works similarly. You sign up for free and then you can enter email addresses of family, relatives and friends. Once you've done this, it's easy to send the same card to a group on your list or different cards to individuals. As well, during the year you can use your list to send birthday cards at the appropriate time. The receivers of your card are automatically posted a website address they can visit to view the card.

Actually the most difficult part of sending an e-card is choosing one. There are handy categories but a great number of choices in each, as well as animated cards and some that include sound. So webDotWiz urges you to take up your free subscription at one of these sites before the rush starts!

  Personal Finances  

Many of you probably have a program such as Money or Quicken to help keep the home finances balanced. If you haven't one of these, you might like to download and try a free program such as Personal Finance 2000 or the shareware program Cash Express.

PF 2000 is written for U.S. users and you'll have to be patient with expressions like "checking account". As well, entering your own categories of income and expenses isn't straight-forward.

If your needs aren't that great and you love dabbling with spreadsheets, you'll be able to put together quite a good one yourself in Works or Excel.

  Gardening  

With all the out-of-season rain we've had, our gardens are looking the best for several years. So, there's no excuse, webDotWiz is continually reminded, for not being out in the garden to make new plantings and helping bring on plants that have strugged through the dry times.

As you'd expect, there are numerous garden sites where the keen gardener can seek advice, find hints and tips, and share their experiences with others. Gardening Australia on TV is a popular program and you can access their fact sheets online.

A couple of valuable sites you should visit when you need background knowledge on plants include the Australian National Botanic Gardens site and , of course, the Royal Horticultural Society site.

  The PC Mechanic  

PC Pitstop may be the site you've been waiting to hear about. The site provides some online analysis tools which check your computer is working to its capacity in a number of areas. Just note that you need Internet Explorer version 4 or later to be able to use the check-up feature. If you just want to understand more about how a computer works, PC Pitstop has a good tutorial available.

Another option is to download and install a set of utilities that will always be available to help solve any problems with your computer - System Mechanic might be worth considering. It's a shareware application and you can read about all its features at the System Mechanic website.

  e-School  

webDotWiz is not trying to be cruel by talking about school for next year but this is the time when there's not so much pressure to look around the Web to find useful resources. As a suggestion, start with the Homework Help Centre and BJ's Homework Helper, both of which provide plenty of links to help with research and assignments.

By the time you read this, web•Directory will be online and you'll find a more extensive list of possible sites to investigate and include in your favourites.

  webDotWiz Highlights  

The official Beatles' site was launched a week or two ago. webDotWiz had a look (because he can remember who they were) but didn't get past the first page - the colour scheme didn't suit his eyesite and all he could read was something about needing lots of multimedia plug-ins installed.

So then it was off to visit How Things Work. There's a database of experiments on the Web to scan through or you can just read about how home appliances work (or are supposed to).

Serious gamers may be wondering what the Xbox game console has to offer. This console has been produced to compete with the Playstation2 so it's worth reading the reviews.

As well, gamers are probably wondering what they can ask for at Christmas. So visit Computing Central's games section for reviews of Crimson Skies or Combat Flight Simulator 2.

After reading this far, you may be wondering if you have ever browsed through so much trivia. No, the Useless Knowledge site has it all!

Finally, here's a piece of research for you: find out what the "Optimal Golomb Rulers Project" is aiming to achieve!

 
 
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